The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Transform your pastry scraps into delicious cheesy biscuits

Posted in Christmas, Snacks Breakfast Lunch | 9 comments

Transform your pastry scraps into delicious cheesy biscuits

Optimistically, I always save my pastry scraps to make these melt in the mouth cheesy biscuits. They usually lurk in the back of the fridge and are forgotten. Danny eventually hoofs the bag of tired pastry scraps and I feel really bad. We have missed out on a superb delicacy. Today I was more galvanised and made the biscuits whilst I was waiting for a tart to bake. These biscuits are simple to make and everyone loves them. They are a delicious appetiser before a supper party. At other houses they have been served at the end of a meal in lieu...

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Special Boxing Day Breakfast (scrambled eggs with smoked salmon recipe)

Posted in Christmas, Fish and Seafood, Snacks Breakfast Lunch | 0 comments

Special Boxing Day Breakfast (scrambled eggs with smoked salmon recipe)

Just before I met Danny, I went to Ireland for the first time to attend a bread making course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. For the duration of the course my sister and I stayed at the Shanagarry Guest House which was walking distance from the school, although I think we drove the 200 yards every day. Partly laziness but mainly on account of the breakfast, which was excellent and forced one to linger until the last possible moment. The couple who owned the guest house were charming. The husband was a rugby coach for the Irish team and...

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Pot roast pheasant (gypsy style) recipe for Christmas Eve

Posted in Christmas, Pheasant and Game | 105 comments

Pot roast pheasant (gypsy style) recipe for Christmas Eve

A Cottage Smallholder Christmas tradition is pot roast pheasant on Christmas Eve. Partly because it’s in season and is a treat but mainly because it’s bunged in the oven for a good hour an a half whilst I get on with another task such as helping Father Christmas with packing the stockings for the household. F.C. usually stops for a sherry early evening to swap recipes, although it’s awkward manoeuvring the sleigh in the back since we fenced the kitchen garden and shortened the runway (Heathrow take note). Cooking game can be...

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Easy marzipan recipe and a few icing tips

Posted in Basics, Christmas | 58 comments

Easy marzipan recipe and a few icing tips

I love marzipan. The homemade kind is the most delicious and it’s a cinch to make. My mum used to announce that she’d made it with such a sonorous trumpeting that, for years, I imagined it was a complex procedure. I made it in a matter of minutes and rang her just in case I’d got something wrong. She was a bit crouchy that her secret was finally revealed. Her marzipan recipe is below. Some people prefer cooked marzipan. This is a much more complex process and is covered here on the Delia online...

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Sunday Roast: Best roast chicken (or turkey) with piquant automatic gravy recipe

Posted in Chicken, Duck Goose and Turkey, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 3 comments

Sunday Roast: Best roast chicken (or turkey) with piquant automatic gravy recipe

One happy day, Danny opened the small box that holds the Tobasco bottle and pulled out a slip of paper. It was a recipe suggestion for roast chicken baste or a marinade for barbecued chicken. There was just a list of ingredients (no amounts or method). The list intrigued him, it lay beside his place for a couple of days and was studied as he sipped his coffee and tucked into supper. Finally he announced: “I’m going to try this. Can you get a free range chicken from Fred’s for next Sunday, please.” Fred Fitzpatrick,...

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Quick cranberry sauce recipe

Posted in Christmas, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 80 comments

Quick cranberry sauce recipe

Two years ago I made cranberry sauce to die for. It kept for months in the fridge and was wolfed down with everything from goat’s cheese toasties to roast chicken. I particularly loved it with brie in sandwiches. In fact we both agreed that it really comes into its own after Christmas, when it is not jockeying for position with so many other treats. Although I would feel bereft if it didn’t make an appearance on Christmas Day. Cranberry sauce is dead easy to make and it’s quick too. Once you’ve tasted homemade...

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Last minute Christmas cake recipe

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | 282 comments

Last minute Christmas cake recipe

Over the years we have tried various Christmas cake recipes but the best by far was the one that we made last year, a week before Christmas. We wanted a cake packed with fruit but not a dark heavy traditional type of Christmas cake. We’d had to force down too many slices of these in the past. My Mother used to make us these and bring one each Christmas. Then she decided to buy them. These were worse and not disguised by being fed with lashings of brandy. We’d cut a few slices at Christmas, give her half the cake to take home at the...

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Best mincemeat recipe for mince pies and puddings

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | 108 comments

Best mincemeat recipe for mince pies and puddings

Mince pies are the quintessential Christmas treat. But every year loads of us bite into a proffered mince pie and resolve never to accept one again. it’s a shame as nothing beats a homemade one, bursting with mincemeat and a slug of brandy. I always make a few on Christmas Eve. I was pretty smug about them until Anne Mary mentioned that she always made her own mincemeat. I’m embarrassed to admit this but five years ago I didn’t know that you could make your own. I rushed home and thumbed through our cookbooks, convinced that...

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